12 Dates of Christmas
A blind date, an ex she's not over, and a seriously damaged holiday spirit. They're ingredients for a rocky Christmas Eve. Good thing Kate gets more than one shot at it. Can she change her fate...and find love along the way?
Opens w/ City Scene
Kooky Grandma Figure
Tree Buy & Trim
Sage Grandpa Figure
Ice Skating Scene
Surprise! Xmas Lights
Ends w/ Kiss or Ring
It’s a shame we’ve waited this long to review “12 Dates of Christmas.” It was our gateway into the made-for-TV Christmas movie genre, but we’ve held off from reviewing because we loved getting lost in the story. Who wants to take detailed notes on obvious clichés when a holiday version of “Groundhog Day” is on screen?
Just like “A Christmas Kiss,” this review is filled with bias. The movie is practically perfection.
Relationship-obsessed Kate (Amy Smart, aptly balancing sprightliness with Scroogey-ness) is plotting to use Christmas Eve to woo back her ex. Too bad a blind date, Widower Miles (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, gentle and warm), ties up her schedule. When a poorly timed perfume spray at a department store knocks her out, Kate is brought back to that moment each time her Christmas Eve goes awry, and she finds herself blowing off Miles again.
The story moves quickly from date to date. You get a variety of emotions from Kate (denial, sadness, unencumbered tattooing), so there are no dull scenes. And when you mix in the classic clichés, like the Tree Buy & Trim, the sneaky Ice Skating Scene, the neighboring Kooky Grandma Figure, or when Kate learns about Miles’s Charity Work with a youth group home, it’s hard to not feel the meaning of the season throughout the arc of the 12 dates.
Yes, there are a few plot holes (e.g., how does she get Max the dog if she doesn’t see her ex-boyfriend that day?!?). But we suspend disbelief and just go with it. We recommend you do the same.
Unlike many in the made-for-TV genre, the production elevates the movie’s quality to that of a theatre-bound film. The subtle but clever ways the “12 Days of Christmas” song categories show up each new day is a fun surprise…and actually took us a few viewings to notice. But once you see the 10 Lords-a-Leaping, it’s hard to unsee the rest and will make you feel ashamed you missed the 6 skipping children wearing goose hats or the drunken conga line of 9 women. Mix in the radio-friendly soundtrack, including Michael Buble popping up during a critical kissing scene, and you’ll forget this movie premiered on Freeform (nee ABC Family).
It’s a sweet and charming take on a Christmas romance. It’s one of our favorites and can stand up to the classics.
Rob’s Final Take: Very Merry
Joyful and thoughtful. Sassy and sweet. And just a little clever. It’s everything a made-for-TV movie Christmas movie should be. Watch it on repeat.
Jess’s Final Take: Very Merry.
It puts everything I love about Christmas into one movie: Family, Friends, Giving, and Love. The leads’ chemistry is the Surprise! Xmas Lights on top.